Thursday, 24 March 2011

Death of a bear called Knut

A polar bear is dead.
He died in Berlin Zoo aged 4
- Knut is no more.

They'll cut him open now.
Some official reason for their sudden loss -
They must underscore

The fact that Knut died not
Of stress or broken heart
When he searched those crowds once more

In vain for the one who'd bottle-fed him
When he was small
And played those games with him upon the prison floor.

Authority had said
That Knut had grown too big to play.
This was official - and Authority (as always) knows

What's best for man and beast.
Two friends from different worlds
Nevermore will roll and hug upon the floor.

Knut's keeper Thomas D├Ârflein, 44, died suddenly in September 2008. The Zoo had ruled that Knut, at 120kg, was too BIG to play any more wrestling games with D├Ârflein. The Zoo's takings were up nearly 30% during the time of Knut.
Another bear, Bruno the brown bear was in recent years shot dead by Bavarian sharpshooters lying in wait for him, when he crossed over the German border having wandered over the Alps from Italy (he killed a few lambs on the way it must be admitted. But even a bear has to eat). The use of a tranquilizer dart to subdue Bruno was deemed too risky.
And also recently, in Austria some 20 bears belonging to the WWF went missing. We can safely presume they are also dead. So what is it about *European bears? In Yellowstone (USA) they run around like celebrities.

*or European people.


  1. A moving and unusual piece this.

  2. Thanks Jim. Humans often have working and friendly (or not so friendly) relationships with animals, wild and domestic, they become bonded in a way - shepherd and sheepdog, lion tamer in a circus, brewery horses, policemen and soldiers on horses etc. etc. But do we think enough about the other side of the equation? The point of view of the animals? Animals feel joy and fear. Do they 'enjoy' self pity too?

  3. It's always been man against wildlife, and wildlife always loses. Killing has always been what man is best at.

  4. richard, thanks and welcome. You're not wrong - man is very good at killing. It's a talent we seem to have.


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